Ayutthaya was a Siamese Kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767. Ayutthaya had consecutively been a prosperous kingdom for 417 years. There had been 33 kings of 5 different dynasties, begin with King Ramathibodi I (also known as King U Thong).
In the sixteenth century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The kingdom was a trade center of the East, a meeting point of European merchants and Asian traders.
The kingdom's glorious time ended when it succumbed to Burmese troops on 7th April 1767. Once an important center of global diplomacy and commerce, Ayutthaya is now an archaeological ruin. Nevertheless, these ruins of temples and palaces still give an idea of the city’s past size and the splendor of its architecture.
The ruins of the old capital in the Ayutthaya historical park have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1991. The city of Ayutthaya was reconstructed near the old city and is now capital of the Ayutthaya province.
Open daily from 08:00 - 18:00 hrs., WatPhra Chao Phya-Thai, also known as WatYai Chai-Mongkol, is situated to the southeastern of Ayutthaya. The large pagoda (Chedi) there can be seen from a great distance. This Monastery was built in 1357 by King U-Thong for monks who had returned from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
There are 2 main features for this temple. One is an impressively large Reclining Buddha statue inside the temple compound. Another one is a large pagoda, called the Great Pagoda Chayamongkol, which was built in 1592 to celebrate King Naresuan in single-handedly defeated the Burmese crown prince in a duel on elephants.
Open daily from 08:30 - 17:00 hrs., WatPhananChoeng is situated on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River at the south-eastern side of the confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak Rivers.
There is no record about its construction, although there is a legend written down in the “PhongsawadanNua” or Northern Chronicles: At some time before the Ayutthaya period, there was a Thai King named Phra Chao SaiNamphung requested the emperor of China’s daughter to be his wife. She travelled from China to this area by boat. When she arrived, the King was not there to greet her. She was heart-broken. She waited for a long time but the King did not come. Finally, she killed herself by holding her breath. The King was very sad, so he had this temple built at her cremation site in order to gain merit for her soul and he named the temple “WatPhananChoeng”.
Main feature of this temple is a gigantic Buddha Statue sitting in the classic posture of Subduing Mara. It measures 20.17 meters in width and 19 meters (including the ornament above the head) in height. Thai people call it “LuangPhorToe” or “Great Reverend Father”, Chinese or Thais of Chinese origin call it “Sam Po Kong”. It is one of the largest, oldest, beautiful and revered Buddha statues of Thailand.
Open daily from 10:00 - 21:00 hrs., Ayothaya Floating Market is located in a large pond with an island in the middle. This market contains an exceptionally charming and tranquil atmosphere of long-lost Ayutthaya Kingdom. They display through clothing, architecture, art and culture, as well as food.
Inside, there are around 300 shops including those built on stilts in the water and those run by vendors on paddle boat and sellers in a free market zone. The shopping area and food zone are separated by wooden bridge. There is a performance area where Thai Classical Dances are performed daily, including Li-kae (musical folk drama), Khon (masked drama) and the Klong- Yow Drum dance.